Hey guys! Thanks so much for all the support you've shown this story! So I accidentally deleted the progress I made for this chapter so I had to start again from scratch. Thanks for being patient but in between work picking up and loosing the progress I made, I'm sorry it took awhile. Special thanks to DarkMaiden95 for helping redo this chapter and enjoy!
Chapter 9: Prince of Darkness
The underworld was as dark and dreary as Sora remembered all those years ago. He could already feel his strength slipping away as he descended the stairs alongside Donald, Goofy and Hercules. But that strength was soon restored as Hercules raised the Olympus stone and restored their strength in no time.
"Whew, thanks, Herc!" Sora smiled. He looked around for the entrance to the underworld. The place was colder than he remembered, and it almost seemed bigger with the river of death flowing before them. The underdome had dissapeared, presumably sealed by Zeus once again.
"This sure brings back memories, doesn't it?" Goofy asked. "You really think Hades knows anything?"
Hercules ran a hand through his hair, sighing. "I don't know, but he's our best chance."
"His lair is at the other side of that cave, right?" Donald asked. "We should get going." With that, the group of heroes started making their way deep into the underworld.
Daichi and Zephyr led their new teammates on to the Gummi Ship, the Eraqus. The main structure as green, blue and yellow with advanced weapons and defence machinery. Blaze, Nero and Sonya looked around in awe as Daichi and Zephyr took the front seats at the control panel.
"Woah, this is how we get to other worlds?!" Blaze asked as he took a seat beside Daichi; the third front seat and gazed at the controls. "How does it work?!" He reached out his hands to the control panel and steering wheel before Daichi grabbed his wrist.
"Don't touch anything." He glared at the red-head.
"Come on, all those buttons are calling out to be pushed!" Blaze pouted.
"I said don't touch anything." Daichi said.
Sonya rolled her eyes. "Blaze, come on. Leave the controls alone." She sighed. Blaze sighed in defeat but listened to Sonya and slumped into a nearby seat with his arms crossed.
"Wow, he really listens to you." Zephyr said in amazement. "Why?"
Sonya grinned in pride. "Growing up together, he and Nero know that I can deliver a full butt-kicking if needed! Perks of having a dad who runs the struggle tournaments!"
"Don't rub it in." Blaze grumbled. "It's embrassing enough to know we've been beaten up by a girl before."
"Come on." Sonya playfully punched Blaze in the shoulder. "You wouldn't need me to step in if you'd just do your homework."
"So what's the plan?" Nero asked as he took a seat, hoping to change the subject.
Daichi couldn't help but smile. The three of them clearly had a long-time friendship. "Well we need to get more information about the heartless and you guys need more training..."
"Training? Really?!" Whined Blaze. "I thought we were doing fine against that heartless!"
"You can never get too much training." Zephyr stated. "Especially when the heartless are involved. Closest world to us should be Radiant Garden..."
"Right." Daichi agreed as he started typing in the coordinates. "I think our parents have some allies there, that may be a good place to start."
"Radiant Garden?" Nero asked, intrigued. "What kind of world is that?"
Zephyr rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly. "Well, we haven't been there ourselves. We haven't left our home world until now."
"Woah, seriously?!" Blaze asked. "So you guys are just as clueless as us out here?!"
"Not completely." Defended Daichi. "We've known about other worlds all our lives and we've studied them extensively and had keyblade training."
"At least you guys actually study." Sonya rolled her eyes.
After plugging in the coordinates, Daichi took the wheel. "Well something tells me we'll have a lot more to learn out here. You guys ready?" He asked.
"Ready as we'll ever be." Nero smiled.
"Heck yeah!" Blaze exclaimed enthusiastically. "Let's go!"
Daichi smiled as he revved up the gummi ship's engine and the new team took off in the Eraqus towards Radiant Garden.
Tenebrae sat at his throne deep in the dark castle, a glass of red wine in one gloved hand and Avalon's school tie clutched in his other. He had the projection of Avalon, Max and Vivi playing before them as they led her to their Gummi Ship. He smirked as he watched the three of them board the vessel, taking Avalon away from the safety of Radiant Garden. Perfect. It was a bit of a hiccup in his plan for Avalon to summon her keyblade this early on and escape from him but he didn't doubt he'd have her back in his clutches soon. Even with Max and Vivi accompanying her; he didn't see them as a threat.
Even with all his Heartless preying on Radiant Garcen, it was still far from his wish of falling to darkness. President Leonhart was defending his world well alongside his captain of the guard, Cloud Strife, the rest of the former restoration committee and their children but they were really only delaying the inevitable. His heartless would take that world soon. A smirk spread across his lips as he took a sip of his drink.
"Hey Tennie!" The prince of darkness looked up to find Lumina striding towards him with that dark grin on her face.
And just like that, the smirk was gone. "Lumina, have I not spoken to you about that stupid nickname?"
"Aww." She pouted, leaning up against his throne and poking his cheek. "But I brought you good news."
"And what would that be?"
"It seems Sora's real worried for his daughter." She smirked. "I just found out he's out and about again looking for her. Keyblade and all."
Tenebrae met her gaze. "Sora's brought out his keyblade again? After all these years? That is intriguing."
"He just arrived at Olympus Coliseum with the king and his two idiots. He even brought Riku's son along for the ride."
"Is that so?" Tenebrae grinned darkly, dismissing the projection and setting the drink down. "Well, then I suppose I should pay a visit to the coliseum."
Sora, Donald, Goofy and Hercules ran through the underworld's dark, winding tunnels fighting through the heartless that appeared and attacked them. Even with all these years of not seeing each other, fighting the heartless side by side felt so natural. Donald and Goofy offering support to Sora and Hercules while the demigod dealt heavy damage and Sora attacked with his keyblade.
However, just as the group finished off the last of the heartless in their path, a familiar cloud of dark smoke appeared before them causing Donald to nearly jump out of his tail feathers into Goofy's arms.
"Hey! Who's yacking around my underworld? Can't a god get some sleep around here?" Hades appeared before them, immediately recognizing Donald, Goofy and Hercules. "Oh seriously? You guys again? Oy vey."
"Listen, Hades, we don't want trouble," Hercules declared. "What do you know about the Heartless running around?"
"Heartless?" Hades rolled his eyes. "Oh not this again. Look, I'm not working with them this time, okay?!"
"Don't play dumb, Hades! We know you're working with the heartless again! Why else would they be running around your underworld?!" Sora snarled stepping right in front of the lord of the dead.
As Hades looked down on Sora, his eyes widened as he recognized those fierce blue eyes. "Wait, keybrat?! Is that you?!"
Sora rolled his eyes, not in the mood for the god's condescension. "Can it! Where is she?!"
"Woah, woah woah just back up a few!" Hades held up his hands. "You just say daughter? You got hitched and had a kid?!"
"What, are you jealous of Sora?" Donald quipped.
"Hardly! It just hurts that I'm the last to know, I thought we were closer than that!" Hades crossed his arms, turned away and pouted.
"Hades, that's enough." Hercules stood to Sora's side. "Just tell us what you guys did with Sora's daughter."
"Look, Wonder-breath, I don't know anything about Keybrat's offspring." Hades stated. "Didn't even know he had a kid until now."
"Why should we believe you?" Donald demanded.
"You wanna know the truth, here? Fine, okay! I'm done with the heartless! They've never helped like at all and I'm sticking to my own means of taking over the cosmos, okay?! Those things were too weak to get the job done anyway, as evidenced by that stupid Keyblade."
"Then why are the heartless running around?" Asked Hercules with a raised eyebrow.
"They run around wherever they want! I don't have any control!" Hades said, obviously irritated. "Frankly I'm glad you're here so you can get rid of them for me!"
Goofy looked towards the group. "Gawrsh, fellas I dunno, he seems pretty sincere."
"See? Dog boy gets me! I wasn't even remotely interested when that kid in the black suit came offering them to me."
"Wait, what?!" Sora demanded, intrigued. "Offering the heartless to you?!"
"A black suit?!" Donald asked.
"Oh now you're interested." Hades rolled his eyes.
"Hades start talking!" Ordered Hercules, grabbing his uncle's robe in a clenched fist.
"Okay, okay wonderboy, geez calm down." Hades exclaimed. "It was a few days ago. I was just minding my own business thinking of new ways to destroy you when this real self-important looking kid comes out of nowhere and asked me to join him in taking over the worlds or whatever with his army of heartless. Thought real highly of himself with that fancy black suit but that ponytail with the ribbon I seriously almost lost it laughing."
"Did you get his name?" Sora demanded.
"Nah, told him I wasn't interested then he left after saying his offer was always open."
All four of the light-dwellers visibly had their hopes crushed. "Let's head back to the coliseum guys, Lyle's probably finished his training by now."
"Yeah, maybe the king found something out from Zeus." Goofy agreed as the group ran out of the underworld back the way they came, leaving Hades alone.
"'Oh wow thanks for being so helpful Hades!' Yeah you're welcome! 'Oh you're such a great god I don't know what we'd do without you!'" The god grumbled in irritation as he disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
When Avalon, Max and Vivi climbed on to the gummi ship, Avalon's eyes lit up at all the buttons and the giant windows revealing the beauty of the lanes between.
"Woah! This is so cool!" She exclaimed as she rushed over to the control panel, eager to start pushing buttons. But thankfully before she could do anything, Max grabbed her hood and pulled her back.
"Okay, slow down there." Max said. "We don't need to crash the ship before we've even left."
Avalon pouted but showed her understanding. "Fine, Sorry." She sighed in deafeat as she took one of the seats.
Vivi couldn't help but snicker at the display.
"What?" Avalon asked.
"I can't help it, just thinking you'd probably be the worst pilot." Vivi kept laughing.
"Hey! You don't know, I could be great at driving this!" Avalon grinned.
Max couldn't help but smile. "Sorry but the answer's no. I don't feel like crashing in space today." Somehow, the three of them ended up sharing a laugh as though they were old friends even though they'd only just met. At least the tension and anxiety of being strangers on this trip was lessened.
Once the group had buckled up and Max had taken the centre driver's seat he pulled up the world map to try and figure out where to go.
"So where are we going now?" Avalon asked.
"I'm not sure." Max answered honestly. "We were in Radiant Garden to try and get some answers from Merlin-"
"Merlin? As in the wizard?" Interrupted Avalon.
Vivi nodded. "Yeah, that's the one! We were hoping he could tell us where the heartless were coming from and where my friends are. And maybe he could have told us about that guy that kidnapped you."
"But Storm and the others told us that he left for his home world and they didn't know where that was-" Max was interrupted by a ringing sound echoing through the ship. The sudden sound almost caused the trio to jump out of their seats.
Max looked around the cockpit, his excellent hearing picking up where the ringing was coming from. "Avalon, it's coming from you."
The auburn haired girl reached down into the black pouch on her hip, pulling out a handheld phone with a crown-shaped case but to the islander it was a foreign onject. "What's this?" She asked as she looked it over as it continued ringing.
"Looks like a Gummiphone." Max said. "You better answer it."
"Gummiphone?" Avalon asked as she lightly pressed the green answer button. To her surprise, Nina's face appeared on the screen.
"Oh good! You finally answered!" The brunette exclaimed happily.
Avalon gazed down at the phone in astonishment. "Nina? Is that you? What's going on?! How'd you get in there?!"
"I'm guessing your world isn't familiar with the concept of phones." Nina sighed. "Don't worry, it's just a video call, Avie. This way we can stay in contact between worlds and we can call you if we have any more info! Dad thought you could use it."
"So, why'd you call?" Max asked.
"Oh right!" Nina laughed. "So, we did a little digging and I think we found which world Merlin might have gone too."
Vivi rushed over to Avalon's side so he could look into the phone. "Really? That's awesome! So now we can talk to Merlin?!"
"I think so." She replied. "We did some narrowing down of all the worlds we're aware of and think we found one that matched what Merlin mentioned about his home world before. I'm sending you the coordinates now." Seconds later, there was a beep at the Gummi ship's dash and the world map Max had been previously looking at gave them a clear route to a world with lush green forests, an old run-down castle, and a snowy area with bright colourful flags and a prominent sword in a stone.
"Wow! Thanks a lot Nina! This really helps a lot; we weren't sure where to go." Avalon exclaimed.
"Anytime guys! Good luck!" With that, Nina hung up, ending the call.
Avalon pocketed the phone as she turned to her teammates. "So I guess we know where we're going now."
"Yeah! Let's go!" Max agreed as he revved up the engine and the ship took off towards their destination.
Lyle was about ready to fall over as he destroyed the last barrel. How had Sora been able to do this at his age? It really was exhausting having to swing his keyblade around with Phil timing him and yelling at him every few minutes. Between the pushups, the sit-ups, the lap running and now the barrel hitting Lyle had just about had enough.
"And, time!" Phil shouted, signaling his timer had stopped. "Take five squirt, you earned a breather."
Lyle wasn't in the mood to correct him again as he dismissed Dawn Guardian. Too exhausted to worry about his pride, the boy sank to his knees, grabbing a nearby bottle of water to rehydrate.
"You know, you ain't half bad kid." Phil said as he approached Lyle. "The games are starting up again soon, you really should think about signing up."
"The games...?" Lyle asked between breaths. "What games?"
"What, Sora never told ya?"
Lyle shook his head. "No, I didn't even know there were other worlds until just before we came here."
"I see." Phil said. "Well basically the games are a way to see who's the strongest. Teams and solos sign up and go head to head in matches. Sora even gave Herc a run for his money back in the day. Went one on one and Herc wasn't even holding back!"
"Sora fought in these games!?" Lyle asked, amazed.
"Course he did! Man, he really didn't tell you kids anything." Phil said. "Would have thought he'd be telling you all kinds of stories about his adventures!"
"My thoughts exactly, who would have thought the slugger would stay quiet about his adventures?" A feminine voice, unfamiliar to Lyle spoke up. The teen looked up to find a tall, slender woman with long auburn hair tied in a high ponytail. She was dressed in a long, sleeveless pink and purple dress.
The woman chuckled at Lyle staring at her. "Sorry, I couldn't help overhear. Name's Megara. Friends call me Meg, I'm Hercules's wife."
"Nice of ya to make it, sweet cheeks. Didn't bring the kids this time? Been wanting to give them some more training." Phil said.
Meg chuckled. "They've been wanting to come back too, but you gotta remember they still have school."
"Yeah true." Phil nodded. "Sorry ya missed Herc, he went down to the Underworld with Sora, Donald and Goofy."
Meg nodded. "I heard. Pegasus and I passed King Mickey on the way here. He explained everything to us and Pegasus gave him a ride up to Olympus." Meg then turned to Lyle. "You're Lyle, right. I am sorry to hear about the circumstances for your visit. At least you're getting some training in."
Lyle sighed. "Look, as much as I appreciate you taking the time to train me I really don't see how hitting barrels is going to help me find Avalon."
"Well, the Heartless are back, right?" Meg asked.
"Well you need to build up your stamina. The heartless aren't going to give you time to rest. And that Keyblade won't do you any good if you don't know how to use it." Explained Phil.
Lyle sighed. "I just... want to bring her home."
"You care about her a lot, don't you?" Meg asked while Lyle nodded. "You got Sora Donald and Goofy with you right? Sure they're heroes now but they definitely didn't start that way." Meg said as she placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"What do you mean?" He asked, looking between her and Phil.
"Let's just say Sora isn't a quick study. Took a few adventures before he could be considered a true hero." Phil stated. "Now let's get back to training."
Lyle gave a short nod. "Right."
"Yes, by the looks of it you need all the training you can get." Phil, Meg and Lyle jumped at the unfamiliar voice and looked up to find Tenebrae standing in the arena's doorway with a smirk on his face.
"Hey! How'd you get in here?! This is private property!" Demanded Phil.
"Really? I didn't see a sign." The boy snickered. "I believe that means I can go wherever I want, old goat." Tenebrae smirked as he sauntered towards them.
"Old goat?!" Phil exclaimed as he rushed towards him. "You've got a lot of nerve-" he was cut off by Tenebrae flicking his wrist and sending him flying across the coliseum with a blast of dark energy.
"Phil!" Lyle and Meg simultaneously exclaimed in fear. How had he done that?! Meg quickly rushed to Phil's side to help him up.
"Stay our of this, old goat. You're far past your golden years." Tenebrae smirked.
"Who are you?!" Lyle demanded as he clenched his fists.
Tenebrae smirked darkly. "Let's just say we have someone in common, son of Riku." He reached into his jacket pocket and to Lyle's horror pulled out a familiar blue plaid tie.
"That's Avalon's!" Lyle gasped. "Where did you get that?!" He demanded.
"Oh, you know I saw it around the neck of the cutest girl. I liked it so much I just had to have it." Tenebrae crushed the tie in his hand, dropped it to the ground then stomped on it with his boot. "And I'm not talking about the tie."
Lyle held out his hand and immediately summoned Dawn Guardian. "Where is she?!" He demanded, pointing the weapon at the stranger.
"Oh so it's a fight you want?" Tenebrae smirked. "Fine by me." With that, he held out his own hand and a keyblade appeared in his hand in a cloud of dark shadows. The weapon was sharp and deadly with a red hilt and a black rose at the end of the hilt, chains and thorny vines wrapped around the blade. The teeth were in the form of a bat wing, the handle was gold and the keychain was the heartless emblem. It was known as Dark Desires.
"What?! You have a keyblade?!" Lyle exclaimed.
"Of course I do." Tenebrae smirked as he raised his keyblade. "Now, raise yours and let's see what you're made of."
Lyle narrowed his brown eyes in anger at the one who kidnapped his friend. "Fine. Bring it!" Lyle snapped as he raised Dawn guardian and the two boys charged at each other.
Thanks for reading you guys! Let's see if you can guess which Disney world Avalon's crew will head too, though I think I made it pretty obvious ;) suggestions on worlds for the other two teams are appreciated though. Sorry this took awhile but I hope it was worth the wait! Don't forget to leave a review!